Meet the Players or Not
It’s 9 am and the Hill children are being checked out of school. Is there a crisis, an emergency? No silly- it is Meet the Player Day at the Senior Bowl! And I officially have 2 girls who will “DIE” if they don’t take a picture with Tim Tebow. We have many pictures of him, (my oldest oldest can even claim fame to touching his bicep twice) but not any WITH him. This is the day!! He has never been this close to our hometown (12 miles to be exact). And also Riley Cooper is coming (the middle girl loves that wild mane of his!)
So off we go and we
And wait ...
for 7 hours until they call us to line up according to our loyalties. The Hill family choice is clear: To the right please, we will take the SEC East and the Gator players please.
And then here comes the embarrassing part. See we live in the heart of Bama country as Gator fans. Not easy to do. But we congratulate Bama on a great season and we bleed orange and blue with or without a W . So we ignore the trash talk of some Bama fans and we take pride in living where we do: in a small town on the beautiful eastern shore of Mobile bay. Slow, small and sweet. So when the Senior Bowl pulls a stunt like they did, I take it a bit personally. I am trying to bring up the” image” of Alabama and the Senior Bowl would have been a great time to do it.
Alas, it was not to be. The head senior bowl man(pictured in video) employs a bullhorn to speak to the ever growing crowd (it is now outside down the 2 set of concrete stairs and winding around to the railroad tracks- I kid you not). It seems the 3 sweet, 5 foot, 60 something lady ushers for the convention center was having trouble controlling the inpatient crowd. Hmmm did someone forget to remind them that Alabama won the National title and then there is that Tebows factor thing too... oh and of course we are in Mobile , ALABAMA -45 miles form Florida. I don't know it just seems to me common sense would have perhaps played a factor here. They don’t consult me on these things, so I digress.
Bullhorn man tells us that we may proceed down the escalators and then we have to make a choice of Alabama or the SEC East. He then tells us that he "cannot believe" he has to say this but SEC east would be Florida, Auburn Georgia and then adds " How we don’t know this is staggering to him" –
I so think he should work in Public Relations, don’t you?
I know what the SEC East is but you have to understand there are people that came from Wisconsin, people who don’t even like football, grandparents in line for their grandchildren just because they were vacationing near by and they all pretty much want the same thing
So considering these 1,000 of people are now supporting your paycheck bullhorn man, I think a bit of courtesy would have gone a long way.
30 minutes later, Bullhorn Bully comes out and announces that Tim Tebow and Upchurch are not here due to medical conditions.
Jaws drop, girls weep, Alabama fans taunt, and disappointment is in the air.
But most stay, they know Cooper is slotted for the second session at 5.
We adopt the mantra:
"We are Prayin' for Tebow and Stayin' for Cooper!"
The line moves slow, slow, slow but we know that Riley is there till 7, so we relax. Hey what is another hour when you been for 8?
Closer... Closer... we see him. He is running his hands through his hair and girls are jumping up and down. We inch further and then he stand up, talks to a senior bowl rep and starts to walk off - (????) "What?" Everyone is saying to themselves. We are now exactly 4 people away from the pod, and then............ the chanting starts:
He waves, starts back - then a senior bowl rep talks to him and he heads out! The blood is rising in the sea of Orange and Blue that is behind me and my children are looking at me like they have just seen a kitten killed in front of them.
So until Riley the girls really did take it on the chin. The look they gave me almost did me in.
It was then I noticed the other players in the pod. They were still there: Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina, and honestly I didn’t know them from Adam. But they were there, giving their time and attention to the fans. I pulled the girls aside and told them "We are going in that pod and we are not walking off, we are asking for their autographs and taking a picture or two and thanking them for coming today . Got it?" They nodded in silence and did just that- I was proud of them.
As we exited the pod, I pulled a senior bowl rep over and reminded her that Cooper was slotted for 5- 7:s0 (it was 5:03 when they pulled him, he came early for part of Tebows slot) She looked at me and said "Oh, really I didn’t ....um...well..." Then I showed her the flyer that THEY gave me in line that clearly had him in time slot two.
Okay now I am really frustrated at the Senior Bowl. They were unprofessional in their dealings of letting us know that Tebow was not coming (south practice ended 3 hours earlier -we saw the bus at the hotel) and for pulling Riley Cooper-(not to mention our stellar treatment from our Bullhorn Buddy)
My final remarks were “Look behind you at the wave of orange and blue, you owe us a Gator, plain and simple."
If the senior bowl gets pulled from Mobile, as has been tried in the past, it is because we earned it.The three of us drove home in silence except for the sniffles and tears from two of us, and I’m not telling which two.
And Alison wasn't kidding about Bully Bullhorn. If you'd like to see for yourself, watch the video below. Alison and her beautiful daughters even give Tebow's Eye Black a shout out at the 3:40 mark!
Alison's blog, with the full story, is here.